Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Ohio Prisoner Awarded $155,000 for Assault by Guard

An Ohio federal district court awarded $155,000 to a prisoner who was assaulted by a guard.

While at the Lebanon Correctional Institution on November 28, 2011, prisoner Michael Williams was assaulted by guard Charles Lake. At the time of the assault, Williams was handcuffed and unable to defend himself. Lake lied to investigators about the incident. Video evidence showed he tackled Williams and struck him several times about the head and body. He suffered soft-tissue injuries, abrasions, and pain.

Lake was subsequently charged with misdemeanor assault and ultimately pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty. After exhausting his administrative remedies, Williams filed a civil rights action. The complaint was served on Lake but he never responded.

The clerk entered a default judgment, and the district court was presented with Williams’ motion for determination of liability and damages. The court noted that Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a) required “the complaint’s factual allegations regarding liability are taken as true, while allegations regarding the amount of damages must be proven.”

The district court reviewed verdicts in similar cases and found that “a compensatory damage award of $75,000 in justified in this case.” It found Williams’ request for $112,000 in punitive damages was excessive, “but an award of $75,000 is reasonable.” The court further awarded Williams $4,300 in attorney fees and $529.05 in costs in October 2014. See: Williams v. Lake, U.S.D.C. (S.D. Ohio), Case 1:13-cv-00627-TSB; 2014 US Dist. Lexis 14641.



As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

Williams v. Lake